Oregon Has a Fortune of QBs That Should Produce Results

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Finally, Pac-12 football is set to get underway in November. During a time in which the College Football season’s outlook was uncertain, the Conference announced a modified 2020 season, and the fans cannot wait to see their teams take the field. Meanwhile, a spirited quarterback battle brewing could have offensive implications not immediately apparent to most Oregon fans…

Projected to win back-to-back Pac-12 championships, the Oregon Ducks are arguably the most feared team in the Conference. Looking back to 2019, the Ducks finished the season with a 12-2 record, but this season will look much different than last year.

Of course, one of the biggest pieces of the Ducks’ success last season is no longer with the team. QB Justin Herbert has progressed into an NFL talent and is doing well for himself in professional football. Herbert helped Oregon win the Rose Bowl last season, but the Ducks cannot rely on his safety net in 2020.

Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown are expected to fill Herbert’s shoes this season. Shough (a redshirt freshman) has been with the program since 2019, playing in four games last season and looking comfortable as he tossed for three touchdowns and 144 yards. Brown is a former Boston College QB who transferred to Oregon for his senior year. He has suffered season-ending injuries twice in his collegiate career, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can challenge Shough for the starting position.

Oregonian Twitter

Anthony Brown was a two-year starter who is ideal for an RPO offense at Oregon.

While Shough is the projected favorite to lead Oregon this season, he’ll also be battling up-and-coming QBs within the program. Freshmen Cale Millen and Jay Butterfield are attempting to gain playing time in Eugene, and Bradley Yaffe shouldn’t be out of the question either. The QB position in Oregon is competitive, which should help the Ducks in the long run. Knowing that your spot isn’t safe creates pressure, and the challenge of keeping your job should be enough to produce high-quality games from the potential starting QB.

Oregon, ranked 9th in the preseason AP Poll, (and currently 13th) has its sights set on another Pac-12 Championship. Believers see an opportunity for the Ducks to compete in the College Football Playoff, but at a minimum, this team is good enough to compete for a conference title.

The question remains — which QB will lead the team into battle? Looking at the Ducks’ schedule this season, they don’t have a ton of time to make a decision. With so few games upcoming, Oregon needs to name a starting QB and get the ball rolling. Until Oregon officially names Shough the starter, look for Butterfield, Millen, Yaffe and Brown to plead their cases in practice. Oregon made it clear that this position would be competitive and nothing will be given, so everything is wide open right now.

Eugene Johnson

Shough has looked impressive, but you have to love Brown’s two years of experience.

Oregon has a chance to win out its regular season. There is a talent discrepancy between the Ducks and the majority of the Pac-12 North, with perhaps just a slight edge in talent over Washington. With USC and Utah the only other ranked opponents in the Pac-12, Oregon will have an opportunity to ride the season out without a blemish on its record. Odds for the winner have not been released by some betting sites just yet, but it’s safe to predict that Oregon will own the best odds to win the Pac-12 Championship this season. USC might be able to contend with the Ducks, but in the North, Oregon has a clearest path to the championship game.

It is interesting that despite a crowded QB position, seniors exiting the program, and the uncertainty of this season, the Ducks are projected to be the top team in the conference again so quickly. The reason is that the Ducks are loaded with talent on both sides of the football with players including Jaylon Redd, Johnny Johnson and Kayvon Thibodeaux ready to lead the charge. All Oregon is missing is its (named) starting quarterback.

Eugene Johnson

Is it going to be the Tyler Shough show?

Again, Shough seems like the prime candidate for the starting role, but Head Coach Mario Cristobal has been rather tight-lipped about the situation. Cristobal mentioned that Shough remains the favorite, but wouldn’t elaborate. The challenge for the fans is that we have not seen Brown in action wearing a green uniform, and thus the natural tendency is to support the “one you know.”

Considering the history of quarterback injuries derailing a season at Oregon (let’s not start on Dennis Dixon), it is comforting to see a loaded quarterback room both in terms of numbers and game experience. Are you ready to name Tyler Shough the starter before seeing Anthony Brown in action?

Lakeside, Oregon
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I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

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Jon Joseph

Thanks Duck Up, great news.


Dont’e Thornton committed to the Ducks. 4* class of 2021 wide receiver.

Thornton – the 88th overall prospect and 13th ranked receiver, according to ESPN – is a six-foot-five, 185-pound wideout out of Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, Maryland. He becomes Oregon’s third receiving commit inside ESPN’s top 100 recruits.
He now joins No. 69 Troy Franklin and No. 58 Isaiah Brevard in what is shaping up to be another impressive class for head coach Mario Cristobal. 
The Ducks are coming off an impressive 2020 recruiting cycle that saw the school land promising young stars in Justin Flowe, Dontae Manning, and Noah Sewell.
Thornton’s decision moves Oregon up to 14 ESPN 300 commits.


Franklin, Brevard now Thornton. This is what you need to get on a regular basis in all the position groups.

Jon Joseph



Yep, there’s the marker.

Jon Joseph



Palm explains why a 7-0 Oregon should be in the “Playoffs”


The CFP Selection Committee’s job is to determine the four best teams using whatever information available. Amount of games played has never been used as criteria before, but we have never had a season like this. Until the committee announces such a standard or gives us some other indication that the amount of games played will matter, I am not treating that as criteria.
One thing they have yet to do is leave an undefeated, major conference team out of the playoff. I am projecting Oregon to finish 7-0 and therefore find a spot in the CFP. Until the committee (or the Ducks) give me a reason to change that, Oregon will still be there.

Jon Joseph

Thanks 30. I read this the other day; I, unfortunately, disagree. 7-0 would be so sweet but what will the level of competition be?

Only 2 conference teams are currently AP top 25 ranked. No chance for anyone to score a big OOC win. All of the other P5 conferences have 3 or more teams ranked. Even the B12 with 6 OK ST, 17 Iowa State and 20 K State. If Oklahoma defeats TCU Saturday, even with 2 Ls it could easily take 22 Marshall, 23 NC State, with a game at UNC where it is +16, or 25 Coastal Carolina’s spot?

24 USC and 42 ASU will have a loss after the opening conference game. Utah is highest ranked team after SC at 34. The Ducks plays none of these teams in the ‘regular’ season.

At 43, UW is the highest ranked AP team on the Duck’s schedule.


That’s right, JJ. It’s great if Paul really does believe what he wrote, and if the Ducks do finish 7-0, leaving a path of destruction in their wake, he can pound his fists, and scream, it won’t make any difference.

First, if the SOS for the Ducks doesn’t make it hard enough, we have the issue that ironically, Palm uses to support his case; criteria. The Committee doesn’t use any criteria. A team doesn’t have to win its conference, its division, to get in the “Playoffs” The, “eye test” should only be the first step in an evaluation of a team.

It will continue to be the, “ESPN Dr. Pepper SEC Invitational” until the “Committee” is wiped away. 4 teams, 8 teams, it will only be a Playoff if the teams earn their way in by winning their conferences. A Committee, minus the weekly sideshow, can determine 2 at large teams.

Jon Joseph

WHEN not if, it goes to 8, seeding will matter and hopefully SOS and not just Ws and Ls will matter?


Right. The seeding is where a “Committee” can be used and SOS, Ws & Ls, margin of victory, all that can be used.


I think the term is to triangulate. When you have some common opponents you can triangulate and project just how good you are. With only in league play you can just say you are the best of teams you know little about.

The only data we can give the committee is being undefeated and winning dominantly. I hope the Ducks don’t let up, realizing that it isn’t only the win that counts, but the margin of victory also. We won’t be giving the committee much so all the info needs to make a strong case.

7-0 may not get us in, but 7-0 and always being dominant might be convincing enough. We need to score big and have a dominant defense that pitches some shutouts.


Thanks, Hayward. What you wrote in your last paragraph is the formula Clemson has used very successfully. They have scored big and have a dominant defense. Of course, they don’t play anybody!

Clemson is my, White Whale, my eternal enemy, I find what they are doing and getting away with; celebrated for, an affront to sportsmanship. 73-7? To me that says much more about how pathetic their SOS is than how great they are. Clemson could put up a score like that every week. If Oregon were to destroy every team in its 7 game schedule, they’d be knocked for not playing anybody. Clemson hasn’t played anybody outside of the ‘Playoffs” in 4 years.

Jon Joseph

But their punter played most of the 4th Q at QB. He went 2 for 3 passing. Not sure what you can do besides empty the bench as did Dabo?


Yeah, there’s nothing Clemson can do, or certainly want to do, about the situation they find themselves in. If we were all Clemson fans I’m sure we’d be thrilled.



The #Pac12 released player participation thresholds in case of Covid outbreaks and tiebreaker procedures for division winners + champ game host:

Jon Joseph

Thanks 30. All these guidelines make sense and are in lock-step with other conferences. However, the other 4 P5 champ games are all still scheduled at neutral sites.


A real concern for UO is going to be the conference guidelines on quarantine duration for players who don’t test positive, but have ‘been around’ positive testers. This is what’s contributing to postponements in the SEC.

During a recent broadcast it was stated that coaches needed to go into Quarantine for 10 days, but players for 21 days. Not clear to me if that was positive test driven quarantine, or “contact” quarantine.

Possibility of a very messy business, with the whole “contact” issue be a big wildcard.

BTW – The Merc News site is paywalled for me, so I’m unaware of specifics of isolation procedures.


Not to be nit-picky but Shough is a Redshirt-Sophomore. He enrolled at Oregon in Jan of 2018. he even appeared in a few games although he didn’t attempt a single pass that season. then last year he completed like 12-15 passes. He should have like 2 and half years of development from Feld and 2 years of QB development from Arroyo(If that is worth anything). Link provided is to Chiliduck’s archived depth chart from 2018 against Washington State. https://web.nmsu.edu/~ogden/oregon/archive/wsu18.html

Jon Sousa

The COVID season where no one loses a year of eligibility (two years for Brown, 4 years for Shough, 5 years for Millen, 6 years for the new recruits), the crowded room now, and the addition of a 5* to the room next year… all make for a whole lot of unknowns and possibilities.

There are 5 guys in the room now. Moving forward, the Ducks will have to recruit at least one great QB per year after that. If everyone stayed as long as they can, by the time the Millen ran out of eligibility there would be 7 guys in the room. No way that many type A guys stick around hoping to see the field.

I (we) just hope we don’t see a mass exodus. For security reasons, a good team needs to have 4 good guys in the room all the time.


I completely agree and Ty Thompson is proving to be an elite High School recruit. I think the hope(from me anyway) is that Shough ends up being phenomenal, plays this year and next year, allowing Ty to sit and study then he can take the reins and lead us for another 2-3 years.

But that also means we end up having players leave as I believe both butterfield and ashford are starting qb talent…

Jon Sousa

What might keep Ashford in Oregon is baseball. It might be his easier road to a pro career in sports. If he feels he is getting good coaching in baseball, he will probably stay, because even if he is 3 or 4 on the depth chart, he could easily be the starter with a couple of injuries. Also, of everyone in the room, Ashford might be the best natural fit in the Moorhead system.

I see the most likely exit as Butterfield. If UW has a real need, Millen could go there as he born a Husky and it was a coop getting to come to Oregon. You like seeing all these very good QBs coming to Oregon, but it is sad that we cannot play them all.

Jon Joseph

5* QB Huard has committed to UW. I would not be surprised to see Mullen go G5?

Jon Sousa

And if Huard goes down? You still need good backups. The problem is, how does a kid go from “High School Hero” to bench warming back-up???? I have no doubt Oregon can win with Millen (that’s why he was recruited), but when there is someone better on the roster???


I like the sound of a Huard playing QB for the Huskies:


Jon Joseph

If phenomenal it likely won’t happen but Shough would also be eligible in 2022, when the ‘big’ OOC opponent is Texas Tech in Lubbock.


On paper we look good at QB based on recruiting rankings. We will find out how talented very soon. I think it is important that Oregon starts to develop the young QB talent that they have recruited. Therefore, I would prefer to see Shough as the starter this year.

The transfer portal has created opportunities for talented players to play for other teams. But, unless a huge talent gap exists, I would prefer to play the QB’s that we originally recruited. Seems important that a team becomes known as a developer of QB talent for recruiting purposes in the future.

Jon Sousa

Agreed. I do think it was a smart move to get Brown this year because the only back-ups would have been Millen (injured last year) and two true freshmen. There is no way you can make a title run with true freshmen as the only back up. Oregon has had too many good 4* QB recruits go flat to make that leap of faith.


What will be interesting to hear, is the rumblings about the other guys. I remember hearing things about LaMike, and even Justin. They were making noise and would be heard from soon.

It is interesting to see the guy who comes out on top at the start of the season, but that isn’t the whole story. Just like the Chargers there may be a guy who just isn’t quite ready, who has a better talent set. Maybe Robby Ashford will be the guy who just has it, or maybe somebody else? I hope it is Shough, but who knows at this point, exciting indeed!


Shough, Brown, Butterfield? I love the idea of the son of a Husky Honk playing QB for the Ducks, “It’s Millen time!” Whoever it is, he’s literally got big shoes to fill, but he just needs to follow Morehead’s plan, get the ball to the playmakers.

Smashing Stanford would be a great way to get this season started. JJ lll was getting it together last season, Pittman is always ready to go, and it will be great to see Redd playing again. Last year, USC showed how important it is to have a lot of quarterbacks. Slovis was low man on the depth chart when the season started, and he’s good, hopefully it’ll be the same for the Ducks.

Jon Joseph

Something that SC does not have this season. The Trojans OL best keep Slovis upright.

Jon Joseph

Thanks OR.

This season does not count toward any player’s eligibility. In theory, Brown could start at QB this season and next season. Regardless and especially with the ‘1 free transfer rule’ (1FT) on the way, I expect that we will see at least 1 QB transferring out?

I believe the 1FT will do more to shake up CFB than will the coming approval of NIL. How many scholarships do you leave open for transfers and how hard do you scout the G5? Believe me, ‘legal’ or not, there will be contact with potential transfers.

We have to hope that 7 games do get played. There is no wiggle room in the Pac-12 schedule; no opportunity down the road to play games that are COVID postponed. (This is also the case for the Big 10.) With daily testing in place it’s optimistic to believe that all games will be played as scheduled. I hope the conference will adopt the SEC protocol to prevent false positive tests. 3 subsequent negative tests each conducted 24 hours after the initial positive test test means you can play and be on the sideline. SEE: Saint Nick.

[Fortunately and contrary to rumor, the lab in Alabama that produced Saban’s false positive has NOT been burned down.]

Current AP ranked Pac-12 teams including Others Receiving Votes: Ducks 13 (as you so noted OR;) USC 24; Utah 34; ASU 42 and UW 43. Granted the Pac-12 has yet to tee it up but the B1G that starts this Friday night with Illinois at Wisconsin, has Ohio St 6, Penn St 8, Wisconsin 15, Michigan 18, Minnesota 21, Iowa 31, and Indiana 45.

Out of the box, the Ducks do not have a top 25 team on the schedule. Looks like a Run for the Tortillas in 2020?


Yes, it will be “Tyler Shough“, until which time it isn’t.

Jon Joseph

If this is the case it will be the Ducks with the experienced QB in Columbus next season. And Shough would also be eligible to play vs Georgia in 2022.

Jon Sousa

Shough can be the starter for 4 years. If he is a redshirt sophomore this year, he will be a redshirt sophomore next year. Two sophomore years, a junior, and a senior year.

Jon Joseph

Spot on. He could start in 2022. But that would likely mean that he hasn’t exhibited the bona fides to go pro?

Jon Sousa

You mean like Mariota didn’t after his redshirt sophomore year and Herbert didn’t after his Junior year? They both came back for one more year – to the delight of the Ducks.

With so many great possibilities nipping at his heals, it would make sense for Shough to take the plunge after his next year if he shows first round potential.

600 to 1 odds of winning the Heisman this year. If he does well this year, Maybe he could win it next????

Jon Joseph

I definitely see Shough back in 2021, with lots of very good players on his heels.

Great point on MM and JH, paid off handsomely for both.

Jon Sousa

You just never know….


Heard today on some podcast that Shough has a strong arm, comparable to Justin H. I’m Not sure how true that is so if anyone knows please let me know.


That would be something. Justin is showing great touch on his passes, throwing in to windows; and what he is doing really well, is the long ball. If Tyler has demonstrated such that a comparison to Justin is made, wow!

I can’t say that in the time I’ve seen Tyler play for the Ducks I came away with that, he must be ballin’ in practice!


Yea, thats the first time I heard that comparison so I have my doubts also. It would be nice – – but.